Change Your Diet to Relieve Back Pain

Do you think that what you are eating may contribute to your back pain? Many types of foods either increase or decrease inflammation in the muscles and tissues of the body including the back, so it might be a possibility that you back pain is caused by dietary habits.

Consuming a pro inflammatory diet can lead to chronic inflammation and pain issues in the body. As such, chronic pain, whether it is neck pain, thoracic pain, lower back pain or joint pain can occurr.

Add more vegetables to your diet plan to reduce back pain

Consuming an anti inflammatory diet can be beneficial to combat chronic back pain and inflammation. Some of the best foods in this case are vegetables. Using a plant-based diet is the best thing to do to avoid swelling or inflammation. Deep coloured vegetables and fruits are the main foods to consider as they are high in anti-inflammatory properties.

Can dietary factors cause back pain?

Research indicates that a diet high in sugar and processed food cause swelling or inflammation in the body that results in the breakdown of our spinal health. Such type of food is also associated with the development of type 2 diabetes, which also results in changes in the spine leading to a back pain.

Additionally, other research shows that deep fried food may cause the formation of AGE. AGEs are proteins or lipids or fat-like substances that are coated in sugars and damage their surrounding structures and function. Disc inflammation and disc degeneration may occur, leading to other degenerative disorders like arthritis, atherosclerosis, and others.

Inflammatory food groups that cause back pain

If you are suffering from active back pain, it is mandatory to reduce the amount of pro-inflammatory foods that you eat, including:

  • Red meat
  • Highly processed foods, as well as those with a high volume of added sugar
  • White bread, rice and pasta
  • Whole fat dairy products
  • Sugar-containing snacks and drinks
  • Fried meals

On top of causing inflammation, these foods contain a high amount of calories, and can contribute to weight gain, putting pressure on the spine, and can make the pain worse.

Types of food to eat to reduce back pain

By decreasing the intake of pro-inflammatory food and taking those meals which counteract or decrease swelling, you will feel relief in your back pain and improvement in your general health.

The foods which counteract against inflammation are those who have a high amount of antioxidants, unsaturated fats and lean type of proteins. Meals that contain these qualities are present in the Mediterranean diet, which contains plenty of fish, fruit, whole grains, olive oil and raw vegetables. You must include the following types of food in your daily meal.

  • Tuna and salmon fish are the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids. You must include two or three servings of omega-3 fatty acids rich fish in each week.
  • Beans, (e.g. kidney beans), grains, seeds, pulses and nuts must be part of your daily food.
  • Eggs and poultry may be taken after every one day.
  • Consumption of red wine is permitted. One glass per day provides a healthy amount of antioxidants.

Root vegetables likes carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, fruits like cherries, grapes, berries, as well as herbs and spices such as cinnamon, garlic and ginger are the types of food which are nutrition rich and reduce inflammation thus reducing back pain.

What is the role of fibre in back pain?

Eating more fibre containing food helps to relieve your back pain because it boosts your GIT and provides digestive health. Constipation worsens the back pain and causes other problems of the back. Fibre reduces constipation and thus reduces the risk of back problems.

Raw vegetables and fruits are the best food sources of fibres. They improve your gut function, lower the amount of cholesterol and decrease the risk of back pain.

Potassium-containing foods also decrease inflammation and strengthen your muscle and nerve functions. Muscles of the back also become stronger, providing more support. Bananas, coconut and avocados are the best sources of this mineral.

What is the role of water in back pain?

Dehydration affects the intervertebral discs which are cracked if the condition is severe. Also, the adequate amount of water in the body maintains the blood pressure, improve the process of digestion and reduces muscle spasm.

Every adult person must drink at least eight to ten glasses of water per day.

Why back pain occurs after eating

Back pain which occurs after eating is mostly a referred pain. A referred pain is the pain in which abnormality is in one part of the body, but the pain is felt in any other part of the body due to common nerve supply.

Many conditions can cause back pain after taking a meal, ranging from benign conditions such as poor posture to a serious condition such as ulcers. Following conditions cause a backache after eating:

  • Allergies and intolerance to certain foods cause inflammation after eating food
  • Gallbladder inflammation and gallstones that can occur due to gallstones or infection or any other cause.
  • Heart attack. Typically heart attack presents with substernal chest pain radiating to the arm or jaw.
  • Heartburn, which is a digestive disorder in which burning pain is felt in the chest. Sometimes this pain radiates to the back.
  • Kidney infection can also cause backache. It also causes fever, abdominal pain and blood in the urine.
  • Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas. Its pain is also referred to the back and is aggravated by eating food.

Treatment of back pain due to dietary habits

If your back pain is related to eating habits, you must remove the triggering foods from your daily meals such as alcohol, beans, gluten, caffeine, chocolate, peanuts, as well as spicy and sugary foods.

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Other options

Working with a physical therapist to get physical therapy and also exercise can also be beneficial for pain relief.

Additional options to consider for pain relief and management:

  • Muscle relaxants, if you also suffer from stiff or muscle spasms in the back
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Breathing exercises to help with overall relaxation
  • Applying an ice pack to the affected area of the back

If none of these approaches work in easing your pain, it is advised that you seek medical advice from a healthcare professional who can provide you with a diagnosis and an adequate treatment plan.

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